Writing for WBAL, Tim Joyce asserts that USA Swimming may have a sexual abuse coverup scandal on par with Penn State. ABC News ran reports of sexual misconduct in USA Swimming in 2010. The article suggests USA Swimming President Chuck Wielgus covered up multiple incidents of sexual abuse and may have perjured himself in cases involving three different coaches.
Andy King, a swimming coach in San Jose, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2010 after it emerged he had sexually abused multiple teenage girls over three decades. USA Swimming had a background check of King (looking only at legal convictions) come back clean in 2008. According to Joyce, USA Swimming settled one King-related lawsuit in 2011 and has three more pending.
An attorney conducting the lawsuits, Robert Allard, contrary to Wielgus’ statement USA Swimming had no suspicions of King until he was arrested in 2010, asserts Wielgus had “thwarted any investigation of King” by keeping a swimmer’s complaint confidential in 2002.
Joyce claims Wielgus struck at least two private deals with coaches accused of sexual misconduct. Everett Uchiyama, a former USA Swimming National Team Director, was accused of sexual abusing an underage girl. He was allowed to resign in January 2006. He later obtained employment at a Colorado Springs country club with a positive reference from USA Swimming.
Aaron Bartleson resigned from a USA Swimming coach position amidst allegations of sexual misconduct in 2005. When he reapplied for membership at another club in 2008 and knowledge of the 2005 incident became known, USA Swimming “entered into a confidential agreement” that would keep him from coaching. A list of banned coaches released by USA Swimming after the ABC News report in 2010 lists Uchiyama under “Inappropriate Sexual Behavior” and Bartleson under “Not Listed.”
According to Allard, Wielgus may have perjured himself under oath when he claimed no knowledge of three coaches who engaged in “sexually deviant behavior.”
On each occasion, Mr. Wielgus denied possessing such knowledge. Based upon the information that we have gathered, Chuck Wielgus and/or USA Swimming had extensive knowledge on each of these matters. In two of them, Mr. Wielgus was intimately involved and in fact provided direction as to how the matters were to be internally handled.
Joyce credits his information to “an exhaustive, seven-months long” investigation with “first-hand interviews” and “reliable and knowledgeable sources.”
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